England rugby union coach Eddie Jones has found an ally Down Under in South Sydney NRL star Sam Burgess, who says he agrees with the former Wallabies mentor’s critical assessment of his time in the 15-a-side code.
Burgess was an interested television viewer as England took a 1-0 series lead in the Cook Cup in Brisbane last week.
Jones was accused of using Burgess and rugby league to promote the first Test in a headline-grabbing interview with News Corp in which he claimed Burgess “was a non-event” in England’s confused strategy at the World Cup but he would have been an excellent Test player if he’d had the will to stick at it.
It was an assessment Burgess concurred with.
“I think he knows what he is talking about, I tend to agree with some of the things he said,” Burgess said at Rabbitohs training at Redfern Oval on Tuesday.
Jones also went to lambaste the rival code.
“Rugby league is not a skilful game, it’s a game where you’ve got to hurt people,” he said.
Burgess, who returned to the NRL this season after a controversial one year stint with English rugby, which included playing a part in their disastrous World Cup campaign, was diplomatic in his response to that.
“He is entitled to his opinion, I think Eddie is just having a bit of fun and creating a bit of coverage with England being out here and I think he did that well,” Burgess said.
Burgess said he had no regrets about his return to the NRL, insisting he enjoyed watching the first Test between Australia and England.
“I am a happy spectator,” he said.
“I have a lot of friends in the team, so I am glad to see them doing well.
“There are no hard feelings there, I’m happy being an Englishman and watching England play and win.”
Off contract Rabbitohs playmaker Luke Keary, who won the 2014 NRL premiership alongside Burgess and has been linked to a move to rugby union, was more flustered by Jones’ critical comments of rugby league.
“Did he say that did he?” Keary asked.
“He is going alright at the moment, they played well on the weekend
“Has he even played rugby league before?”